A Walk in the Park

Our daughters joined me for a walk in the park last evening. Oklahoma summers are really warm this time of year so we wait until the hour before sunset and set off on the trail of one of our favorite parks in town.

It’s a simple thing to do and it costs absolutely nothing, but the gains seem at this moment in my life to be immeasurable. There are certainly the health benefits that are important and I know that, but the conversation and lack of distractions and unplugging of technology while we are on the trail together are exceptional.

We don’t always share deep thoughts or even talk, but the point is we can and we do. We have each other’s undivided attention in a way that I cannot find in most every other area of our lives.

Over the years, a walk in the park has helped us mend some fences, share some funny stories, laugh, sing, talk and listen to each other and the world around us. It reconnects us and it gives our little group a shared path to take and a finish line to help each other reach.

It is truly a walk in the park.

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Living Here and There

A few nights ago, my kids were dreaming about what it would be like to have their own bookstore. They had so many ideas about what it would look like, but the most intriguing one was their plan for the front door. They have always been fans of C.S. Lewis and his classic Narnia series, so they decided that they would build a very large old-fashioned wardrobe for customers to walk through as they enter and exit the store. You might remember that is how the Pevensie children made their way into and out of Narnia.

It was a neat idea, but it became even more wonderful when our middle daughter explained her reasoning for the idea. She said, “For customers, it would be like leaving the real world and entering one more magical…and when they leave it would be sad, like leaving Narnia for the real world.”

At our house, I think summertime is much like Narnia – we love it around here because it is a definite pause in the roller coaster that is the year that exists on either side of it. Yes, we still work and do laundry and cook and pay bills and worry and laugh and cry and…live. But even with all of that, we still have time to just be. It is as though our summers are a lifetime away from the busyness of the school year.

Everyone here is connected to school life, my wife and I are part-time college professors and our kids are in different grades and schools across the city. This is why summer is so important to us. It always offers us a different pace…and we take full advantage if it. The kids are not tied to any particular activity away from home and they can take their time just being themselves and thinking and playing and cooking and reading and wondering. It’s a ride-your-bike, sleep-in-late and go-to-bed-later kind of world for them.

Next week at this time, school will have started and tickets to the roller coaster that this season brings will go quickly. We are indeed leaving “Narnia” through that wardrobe and coming back into the real world. A bit reluctant yes, but not downcast, for we are preparing for the adventures of the real world, too.

Here is how Lewis ended his great book on the subject – “And that is the very end of the adventures of the wardrobe. But if the Professor was right it was only the beginning of the adventures of Narnia.”

Lewis Wardrobe